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August 2011

Upcoming Events

Sept. 3    Fun Run 8 at Lions Park

Sept. 10  Airport Trail Grand Opening

Sept. 10  Bear Spray Clinic

Sept. 16  Wild & Scenic Film Festival-Billings

Nov. 5     BRTA Ski Swap

Fun Run 8

The Red Lodge Area Community Foundation’s Fun Run 8 is Saturday, September 3, at Lions Park in Red Lodge. Your donations to area non-profit organizations are enhanced with money in the matching fund. So donate to BRTA through Fun Run and your financial support is multiplied! This is another of BRTA’s big fundraisers, so please consider this time to support us.

Donations through Fun Run can be made online (www.redlodgefunrun.org) or mail to RLACF, Box 1871, 59068. Donation forms available online, at area businesses, or at the RLACF building across the street from the Post Office (13th & Oaks).

Sign up to run. Volunteer to help out by contacting Bill Foisy at wfoisy@hotmail.com or (406) 426-0550. Stop by the BRTA table at the Fun Run and learn more about us.

Remember, our mission is to promote non-motorized trails in and around Red Lodge. Your donations go to many endeavors, including operation of the Red Lodge Nordic Center;  construction, maintenance and improvements on the city’s Rocky Fork Trails;  and organization of events such as the children’s ski program, the Nordic Fest, Backcountry Film Fest, and more.

Since we are a 501(c)3 non-profit, your donations are tax deductible. Thank you for your support!

Bear Spray Clinic

Bears are dangerous and we’re always looking for ways to protect ourselves from them, even in our home neighborhoods. One helpful tool is use of bear spray. It is concentrated capsaicin (resin of peppers) under pressure in a can. It is highly effective when sprayed into the face of an aggressive bear, black or grizzly.

Bear spray is intended to be used on a bear’s eyes and nostrils, causing them to flee the scene. In calm conditions it will spray in a cone-shaped fog about 30 feet max. Wind or a breeze will greatly change that and can come back at the user or others nearby.

Bizarre stories abound about misuse of bear spray, like using it as a repellant, testing it in the house, or leaving the safety off and falling on it!

Bear spray is highly recommended over bullets when it comes to protecting yourself. Guns have a high chance of wounding a bear, and a wounded grizzly is infinitely more dangerous than a sprayed one. Plus, gun accidents are more lethal to humans than accidental bear spray. The point is to save the bears and teach them to avoid us, a much better option than wounding or killing the bear that is doing what is natural for them.

True or False quiz:

  1. bear spray is fool proof and is safe to use
  2. the least important part of bear spray is the safety
  3. the TSA allows up to 4 oz of bear spray on airlines
  4. hunters do not need bear spray
  5. Grant Barnard has no fun stories about misuse of bear spray
  6. bear spray is a repellant, like bug spray
  7. there are no grizzlies in this area so no need to buy bear spray

If you answered false to all seven, consider yourself an amateur outdoorsman. If you would like to learn more about bear spray, join professionals Shawn Stewart and Matt Heaton of MT Fish, Wildlife & Parks, and Hunter Educator, Brent Nearpass for a BRTA-sponsored bear spray clinic September 10, including live demos! Location to be announced.

Airport Trail Connections

A thousand feet of new single-track trail was constructed the past few weeks as part of the Airport Trail.  The single track connects two existing sections of trail near the south end of the airport runway – a location wßhere there was not enough room to put a full-width trail.  Prior to the single track, trail users had to merge with the airport road and walk along traffic that was a both a hazard and an unpleasant experience as dust from passing vehicles filled the air.

The three-foot wide single-track was cut by a crew from Montana Conservation Corps (MCC) and BRTA volunteers. The entire stretch of trail was hand-dug to minimize disturbance to the hillside.  A special thanks to the MCC crew, Jeff Gildehaus for trail layout and also Richard Siragusa who permitted the trail to cross his property. BRTA and the City of Red Lodge Parks Board funded the project jointly.

Repair of the McGillen Trail

Roofs and vehicles weren’t the only things damaged by the tremendous hail/rain storm that occurred in Red Lodge on July 6th.  Several locations along the Airport Trail were also compromised.  A special thanks goes out to the Public Works Department of the City of Red Lodge for repairing the trail leading down to McGillan Avenue.   Flash flooding down the trail left a foot-deep gulley that made the trail unusable.  The City of Red Lodge public works graciously came in and filled the eroded channel. Then, they surfaced portions of the trail with asphalt millings to reduce future erosion.

The MCC crew that was funded by BRTA and the City also helped with the damage by filling in eroded areas and installing new culverts where there was need for better drainage.

Supporter Spotlight

We asked Cathie Osmun, member of the BRTA board, to tell us about herself. This is what she said,

“My retirement brought a wealth of volunteer opportunities in Red Lodge after we moved here full time from Columbus and Absarokee, MT.  It was nice to be settled after commuting to Miles City for over a decade to work as a physician assistant in women’s health.  I could now join my husband, Jack Exley, in more outdoor activities.

“Geology and oceanography have always been an interest.  I graduated from Rocky Mountain College in 1985 with a geology degree but never made it to the ocean to live.  Just to sea kayak.  So the Beartooths serve as my study ground with a focus on the Madison Limestone, a remnant of an old ocean.  Our sea kayaking trip this past October to the Peninsula Valdes in Patagonia, Argentina, was a high point.  I also spend as much time as I can in Yellowstone and on the Beartooth Plateau.

“I grew up in NE Indiana, but once I saw the Rocky Mountains, I knew I was home.  John Denver’s “Rocky Mountain High” was popular at the time—and it spoke to my heart.  It’s very special to live in a place that you love.  And Red Lodge is a great community within that place.

“I’ve been a Board member of BRTA for over four years.  The focus and camaraderie of this group makes every project enjoyable. I continue my medical interest as a Hospice volunteer.  And, like all of us, show up when asked to volunteer for the many worthwhile activities in our little community.”

Beartooth Run

BRTA sponsored a water stop at the 43rd annual Beartooth Run held on August 6th.  Board members Bill Foisy and Ray Masters encouraged runners at the 2.4-mile mark of the 8.4-mile run, from Parkside Campground to Vista Point.  The Run is known as one of the toughest in America with over a 2,000’ elevation gain.  As one runner noted, it is like putting your lungs in a microwave.

Hiking Trails Near Red Lodge

This one page brochure with simple and complete directions to 13 hikes in the immediate area is available in businesses all over Red Lodge, including the Chamber of Commerce, the Red Lodge Carnegie Library, and on the BRTA website. Email Grant (telemark@imt.net) if you would like a supply for your business.

Forest Service Updates

Call or stop in at the Beartooth Ranger District office in Red Lodge for current information on trails and roads in the Beartooth Mountains, (406) 446-2103.

Quote of the Month

“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.  Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees.  The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.”  ~John Muir

Always consider yourself welcome at BRTA monthly Board meetings, second Wednesdays, at the Red Lodge Area Community Foundation building, (13th & Oakes, across from Post Office), 6:30 pm., or call your favorite Board member to learn what’s up with BRTA.